Man who got HIV during heart surgery is dead

Indo-Asian News Service
Kolkata, Feb 26 (IANS) A man who contracted HIV through blood transfusion during heart bypass surgery died in a hospital here Monday.
Ajoy Mukherjee, 65, of Barasat near here, had claimed at his deathbed that he contracted HIV at Apollo Gleneagles Hospital during blood transfusion while undergoing bypass surgery in May 2006.

"My father passed away around 2 p.m. Monday. His blood pressure dropped and his heart collapsed," the victim's son Sabyasachi Mukherjee told IANS.

The plight of the family was reported by IANS last Friday.

"We are planning to move the consumer forum on this issue. Our lawyer is preparing a draft and we will then send it to US based AIDS researcher and patients' rights activist Kunal Saha for revision," Mukherjee said.

At his deathbed, Ajoy Mukherjee said last week: "I got HIV from Apollo around May 2006 when I underwent a bypass surgery there. I want justice and punishment for the hospital authorities. I am 65 but it could have happened to anybody."

Mukherjee was admitted in a nursing home here for the last couple of days.

"During the operation we had gone to the hospital with our own donors, but they refused to use their blood and instead insisted using the hospital blood bank," Sabyasachi said.

"He was diagnosed with HIV in Vellore's Christian Medical College hospital last month. We took him there since he had started suffering from various ailments."

An Apollo Gleneagles spokesperson said: "We have not got any formal complaint from any quarter so far. We will comment or issue a statement only if there is any complaint lodged formally."

The Apollo spokesperson said the West Bengal State AIDS Control and Prevention Society (WBSACS) had also not contacted them yet.

Mukherjee's family approached US-based India-born AIDS researcher Kunal Saha, who spearheads India's largest patients' rights body People for Better Treatment (PBT). Saha said that from available medical history it was clear Mukherjee got HIV through blood transfusion during his bypass surgery.

Saha told IANS from Ohio that PBT has written to the Apollo authorities to start an immediate investigation into the episode.

"We demanded prompt action from Apollo and compensation for the family of Ajoy Mukherjee," he said.